Friday, February 17, 2017

KAVANGO RIVER FISHERIES STAKEHOLDERS WORKSHOP: 12-13 MAY 2016, KIFI

Headmen Muhero of Kamutjonga Village welcoming all participants to Kamutjonga for this important fisheries stakeholder meeting hosted by Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute
Mr. Johannes Hamukwaya, Chief Fisheries Biologist of MFMR Rundu regional Office and facilitator of the meeting highligting the objectives of the Fisheries Stakeholder Forum 
This unique Fisheries Stakeholder Forum took place from 12 to 13 May 2016 and was the first of its kind for the Kavango River in Namibia. The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), Directorate of Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries (DoAIF) has long since realised the importance of disseminating fisheries research data and trends of the Kavango River fishery to stakeholders of the Kavango West and East Regions. Mr. Johannes Hamukwaya, Chief Fisheries Biologist of the MFMR Rundu Regional Office was appointed as chairperson of the organising committee. He was assisted by Fisheries Biologist from Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute and Katima Regional office. Fisheries Inspectors from the Directorate Operations stationed at Rundu also assisted.  Mr. Denis Tweddle and Geraldine Taylor of the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) assisted on behalf of the EU Project: "Community Conservation Fisheries in KAZA" with facilitation and logistics.  We are very grateful for this support. Thank you very much. It is sincerely appreciated.

The most notable stakeholders included the Traditional Authorities (Headmen and Village Traditional Council Chairpersons) directly impacted by this fishery. Other stakeholders invited included Kavango (East and West) Regional Council, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Ministry of Health and Social Services, Namibia Police, Conservancies and Lodges on the Kavango River. 

Agenda available at: https://app.box.com/s/bfa3isoznet6ov1nn2cmpoyndji5epyo

The Stakeholder Forum was opened by Mr. R. Burger the Deputy Director of Inland Fisheries at the MFMR. Headmen Muhero of the Kamutjonga Village welcomed all participants to Kamutjonga. Proceedings of the forum were facilitated by different staff members of the MFMR in Kavango East and West Regions as well as Katima Mulilo regional office. Mr. Burger gave a short overview of the activities of the Directorate of Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries, where after Mr. D. Tweddle of the NNF highlighted the importance of fishery resource management in his presentation. The Traditional Authority presented the importance of traditional fishery on behalf of Hompa Kaundu. It was evident from this presentation and discussions that the Traditional Authority in Kavango was not happy with illegal fishing methods most notably drag netting that led to a drastical reduction of fish populations in the Kavango River (Namibia). Mr. Mark Paxston on behalf of the tourism industry (lodges) echoed the concerns of the Traditional Authority with regard to illegal fishing methods that led to the destruction of the Kavango fishery. Mr. Paxton was also concerned about the lack of proper law enforcement to address the problem. 
 
Mr. Denis Tweddle of the NNF with his presentation "the need for co-management of the Okavango River"
Mr. Tweddle on actions needed to stop the collapse of the Okavango River (click on image for better view)

During the afternoon session Mr. Godfrey Sitengu gave a very insightful presentation on the findings of inland fisheries research on the Kavango River from the early 1990's to 2015. It was evident from the presentation that the resource is under severe pressure. Mr. R. Upingasana, Fisheries Inspector from Rundu office followed with a presentation on the Inland Fisheries Act, regulations and the roles of Fisheries Inspectors. These presentations were followed by very active discussions.
 
Groupwork
Geraldine Taylor explaing her groups input during the plenary discussion
Mr. Francois Jacobs giving feedback on his groups work during the plenary session

Day 2 of the forum concentrated on group work where several issues pertaining to inland fisheries were discussed and presented at plenary sessions. Inputs from these discussions are being disseminated by the MFMR and NNF in order to come up with possible solutions in terms of bilateral/multilateral co-management issues, creation of possible protected areas with local community management and legislative inputs to better manage the resource. The MFMR gazetted the banning of monofilament nets in Gazete No 6197 of 15 December 2016, Gazette Notice No 296 (prohibition on the issuing of licences for monofilament nets to be used as regulated fishing gear: Inland Fisheries ResourceAct, 2003) based on research findings and inputs from this stakeholder meeting. The gazetted protected areas with community management at Sikunga and Impalila Conservancies in the Zambezi Region was a big inspiration and an example that Traditional Authorities in the Kavango East and West Regions want to emulate. Project support to this extend is eagerly encouraged.  We are looking forward to work closely with stakeholders and NGO's to succeed in the overall participatory sustainable management of our inheritance the Mighty Kavango/Okavango River.

A word of appreciation to the organising committee (Mr. Gosbert Hamutenya, Mr. Richard Upingasana, Mr. Denis Tweddle [NNF], Mr. Erastus Mupiri, Ms. Emily Nambinga, Mr. Francois Jacobs, Mr. Godfrey Sitengu) under the leadership of Mr. Johannes Hamukwaya who did a great job and hosted a very successful event.

The Kavango Stakeholder Forum will become an annual event at Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute. The MFMR is encouraging support for 2017 Kavango Stakeholder Forum.



No comments: